While my Trainer doesn’t have any school horses, I’ve been lucky enough since Miles’s injury to have the opportunity to ride several other horses. Some are my Trainer’s personal horses, Diamond and Vinnie, while others are client’s horses like Coal and Dax. Recently, I started riding a new-to-me horse: Moiya. I’ve known this spunky little OTTB mare ever since I first started riding at this farm. In fact, my BFF Nichole rides and shows her regularly (remember the horse that colicked at the show last month? That was Moiya).
So while I’ve seen her go in plenty of lessons with several different riders, I’d never hopped aboard myself. Right now, Moiya isn’t doing much other than IEA lessons once a week, but her personality isn’t quite suited to being a once-a-week crossrail horse. She’s just got way too much energy for that! So Trainer said I could ride her in-between IEA lessons to help keep her going. I was really excited, because the idea of me riding her has come up before, but never happened. Probably because Trainer wasn’t convinced I could handle her… and I don’t blame her. Moiya is everything I used to fear: a small, spunky, sensitive mare prone to running away with less than stellar brakes. That makes her sound a lot more difficult than she really is. Her spook is a bolt — she tucks her butt and RUNS — and you kind of just have to go with it until her brain comes back into her head (which usually doesn’t take more than a lap around the arena at most). Her downward transitions from the canter aren’t great, and you absolutely cannot hang on her mouth.
But Trainer finally decided to take a chance and let me ride her. Originally we were going to start out with a lesson, but that got cancelled due to weather. So I was a little bit surprised when I got a text saying I could hack her on my own that week. I think I rode her two or three times, once while Nichole was riding also and she gave me some great tips. And each time got better as we figured each other out. While I’m not the best flat rider ever, I do have a lot of confidence in my abilities to flat broke, sane horses pretty well, especially if you’re looking for long and low. I’m good at getting horses to go long and low, and stretch out. So I was happy that Moiya and I were getting along, at least on the flat.
I’ve had two jump lessons on her now, and it’s been so much fun. Moiya is great, and honestly probably has the most options out of any horse I’ve ever ridden. She’s super adjustable and can easily get 4 different numbers of strides between poles if you ask her… maybe more; she collects up and can get her stride compressed to almost nothing. She’s done a lot of jumper-stuff, so she turns on a dime and her lead changes are completely automatic — just stay out of her way!
We aren’t jumping big, mostly just crossrails and 2′ verticals, which is fine by me. Moiya is maybe 15.0hh, and she really uses herself over fences, so her 2′ jump feels like Miles’s 2’6″ jump. And for me right now, the fence isn’t the problem: it’s the pace in between that I need to work on. So I’m learning to “go fast” and not get scared, and Moiya is teaching me that I need to go with the flow. If we go long, I’ve got to follow her and deal with her speed on the other side of the fence. If we go short, I need to wait and help her out. All of which I’ll need to do with Miles too.